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07 May 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Noko Masalesa
Noko Masalesa, Director of Protection Services, in conversation with students and stakeholders to plan a safe way forward.

Safety and security are human rights that constitute social justice. At the centre of the agenda at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Social Justice Week held on the Bloemfontein Campus from 17-22 April 2019 were discussions about off-campus safety. Stakeholders agreed on an upgrade to security measures in order to ensure the success and wellbeing of the student population.

A call to students

Prof John Mubangizi, Dean of the Faculty of Law, in his capacity as representative of the UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, expressed his view on institutions of higher learning no longer functioning as ivory towers. “For any initiative to succeed, collaboration is necessary between key roleplayers,” he said.

He aptly pointed out that: “We cannot underscore the importance of safety and security, not only for the university but also for the communities around us. What the university does benefits the community and vice versa. I pledge the university’s commitment to play a leading part to ensure that the collaboration works,” said Prof Mubangizi.

Beefing up security: Who is involved?

In view of the collaborative effort Prof Mubangizi alluded to, the engagement was twofold. First was the roundtable discussion facilitated by Protection Services which then escalated into a public dialogue where students had the opportunity to interact with external delegates.

The South African Police Services, Community Police Forum, Private Security, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Provincial Commissioner, and Deputy Minister of Police were well represented in this critical conversation. Internally, members of Protection Services, Housing and Residence Affairs, Student Affairs, Institute for Social Justice and Reconciliation, Student Representative Council, and the Department of Criminology heard the plight of off-campus safety faced by students.

Changes in the horizon

The discussions culminated with recommendations which will see the future of student safety take a different direction. According to Skhululekile Luwaca, former SRC president, these include “the municipality’s commitment to immediately address issues such as street lights and enforcing by-laws, ensuring an integrated accreditation system, and drafting a policy for off-campus accommodation, running more crime awareness campaigns, and giving police patrols more visibility.”

In addition to resolving to set up a student safety forum with all the stakeholders, the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has invited the UFS to join Reclaim the City – a safety forum where practical solutions to crime are devised and implemented on a weekly basis.


News Archive

Shimlas dust off Pukke before Varsity Cup semifinal
2015-03-24

Even the persistent Pukke from North-West University (NWU) fell short by losing 29-26 on Monday 23 March against the UFS Shimlas in this year’s Varsity Cup rugby tournament.

This means Shimlas have their first ever home semifinal and, for the first time, they are also the only unbeaten side in the tournament. Come Monday 30 March, the men from Kovsies will host the University of Cape Town Ikeys for the first semifinal clash of the day at 16:45 at Shimla Park on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

Despite the loss, Pukke did manage to secure a bonus point by scoring four tries. It was only the good kicking to the posts by Shimlas captain AJ Coertzen that made the three-point victory difference on the final score. Pukke ended fourth on the Varsity Cup log, earning them a position in the semifinal as well. The men from NWU will travel next to the University of Pretoria to face the top of the log Tuks side in the second semifinal clash.

In the Shimlas match against Pukke, UFS flank Gerhard Olivier managed to be dubbed the Player that Rocks for a second time now this season.

Shimlas point scorers against Pukke:
Tries: Elandre Huggett, Niell Jordaan, Gerhard Olivier (2)
Conversion kicks: AJ Coertzen (3)

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